As a lover of dead things, e.g., death metal, I endorse all holidays that celebrate death, e.g., Good Friday. Plus, as a lover of all things crustacean, of course I knew that March 9 was National Crabmeat Day.
But let’s clear the haze. I am, after all, merely a Midwestern lad. I grew up on my mother’s pot roast and her famous chicken and dumplings, both savory dishes. Deliciousness notwithstanding, they only satiated my baser senses; they were spiritually unsatisfying dishes. Thus, I write here to make clear that, since boyhood, I craved for something more, and I found my salvation in the sea’s Eucharist: crab.
Once, during Lent, my family sat amidst the din of our local Red Lobster, and I had the opportunity to dip the dainty leg of a crawler into a cup of melted butter. My palate was pleased, as though I had been caressed by the sensual hands of Christ himself. As most teenagers experience spiritual transformations while their body changes, so changed my body as I began to worship the sea’s Eucharist. I grew taller. Facial hair developed. My voice deepened. All the while, a photograph of Spongebob’s Krusty hung straight above my bed, and before I fell asleep each night in those pubescent years, I prayed, hoping for more legs, more crawling—no more mammal. Of course, my full transformation never materialized. I was only left hoping.
I continued my religious vocation upon coming to Knox. Thus, Bon Appetit’s daily emails did not bother me at all. Some day, I figured, my prince would come. And that day would be March 9.
I geared up for the day by claiming I was from Maine; I yearned for an exoskeleton. As December 25 is to the Christian, a follower of Christ, March 9 is to the Crustacean, a follower of Crust. So I cheerily completed my March 9 morning ablutions — showering, toweling off, brushing my teeth, spitting, clipping my nails and click-clacking them as my dear brothers do with their pincers, repeating the Crustaceana Mantra five times to the bathroom mirror. After I put on my symbolic coveralls and waterproof boots, I checked my email.
Ah, yes—another Psych Student Research Study. Step aside Kuhn, this here is real progress! Even more: participants receive Tootsie Rolls! Candy reimbursement from the same people who link sugar addiction to cocaine addiction? Delete.
Next: an email from Bee Club. I signed up for Bee Club emails? I just don’t have the time to attend this club’s political organizing, however laudable the club’s goals. I delete the email, but choose to stay on the distribution list. After all, I was very impressed with Jerry Seinfeld’s acting efforts in the genus’ genius film propaganda.
And here we are: the daily Bon Appetit email. The day is here. My crabmeat will sit in a pot, (in)correctly labeled with faux-handwriting, and it will speak to me: I am your salvation, I embody your life’s worth: eat me. I click the email.
Join Us in the Hard Knox Café for National Meatball Day.
I must mention that I am not an angry or irritable person. Crab, after all, is nature’s antidepressant. I am always calm and centered after, like a Neanderthal, I shatter the leg and shove its soft flesh into my panting mouth. My faith has transformed; I was once a Christian, now I am a humble animalist, a disciple of sand and water and the teeming life thereupon.
But National Meatball Day? The day felt funereal. As I trudged from class to class, the clouds spoke to me: Your faith is a lie, the world is indifferent to your suffering. In protest, I tried not to eat — but the pangs pained me, and my mouth watered. Needless to say, I knew the caf’s offerings would surely disappoint.
How dare you, Dining Services, choose only one holiday? A meatball? What is its metaphysical status? You besmirch the sanctity of a dead animal—the species of which is unknown to the consumer—by savagely crumpling it into a wounded ball, and tarnishing it with breadcrumb and rosemary. Dare you add insult to injury by dousing the meatball in marinara sauce, which, as even the layperson knows, looks like blood? I do not wish to eat a crime scene. If anything, I yearn for an Italian delicacy.
Out of weakness — both bodily and spiritual — I dare tried one of these “meatballs,” for I thought myself a charitable consumer. I realized, upon masticating the item, that I’d rather confess my life’s sins while undergoing a medieval torture technique. At least this type of pain is somewhat within my control.
All of this is not to say, however, that there cannot be two National Food Holidays. In fact, as a student of the liberal arts and a champion of diversity generally, I cherish a plurality of voices and food choices. Thus, I welcome the opportunity to have National Crabmeat Day and National Meatball Day on the same day. Perhaps we can join the two names, and have National Crab-meatball Day.
In sum: I can no longer stand back and idly witness Dining Services’ systemic discriminatory practices time and time again. I will continue to expose Bon Appetit, Snowden-style, if such food holiday cover-ups choose to continue. Or, if this letter has reached the humble and learned reader in my absence, I hope you, dear reader, will crawl and claw, Snowden-style, for me—for the Greater Good. We — as Crustaceans, as students, as human beings—must demand transparency, whatever the palate, whatever’s on the plate, whatever the holiday.
As for me, my faith has been crushed. I step on Crustaceans when I see them. I don’t pray. I just cry, sweat, and brood, alone. All under a godless moon—no crawling, no light.